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Tastemakers:Dylan‘s Candy Bar/Ole George Whiskey Grand Travers Distillery

Rick Coates - November 1st, 2010
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Dylan’s Candy Bar, the newest store in the Gallery of Shops at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Traverse City, opened this week. Created by CEO Dylan Lauren, the daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren and photographer and author Ricky Lauren.
The first Dylan’s Candy Bar opened in 2001 but the concept for the candy emporium began on Dylan Lauren’s fifth birthday. “I went to see a showing of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” said Lauren. “I was so awed by the candy land of Willy Wonka’s factory that it inspired me at that moment to open a candy store.
During college, Lauren traveled Europe studying art, fashion and sampling the best candies along the way. She took notes and Dylan’s Candy Bar combines her love of candy and passion for art, music and fashion to create gifts for “kids” of all ages.
“In America, 65% of all candy consumed is by people over 18, so this store will have something for everyone, ” said Lauren. “I have locations in New York City, East Hampton, Orlando and Houston and I am looking forward to having our next location in Traverse City at the Grand Resort.”
The 1,300-square foot store in the Resort’s Gallery of Shops will feature the signature colors of turquoise and pink along with an 18-foot chocolate wall - loaded with bulk and packaged chocolate. It will feature three seven-foot-tall lollipop trees, each with 200 lollipops in a variety of flavors and colors; an eight-foot tall chocolate bar tree with over 700 of Dylan’s signature chocolate bars; and an assortment of candy-inspired apparel, souvenirs, and gifts.
The Resort is planning a grand opening on November 20 that will include a “Sweet-Stakes” drawing to win an overnight stay in a “Sweet Suite” at the Resort; no purchase necessary. Further details will be announced soon, but Dylan’s Candy Bar is open for business and additional information is available at or call 800.236.1577 --Rick Coates

Ole George Whiskey Grand Traverse Distillery
Since opening the Grand Traverse Distillery five years ago, Kent Rabish has focused on vodka making. Utilizing rye grown in Northern Michigan, Grand Traverse Distillery True North Vodka has won over many top-shelf vodka consumers. It continues to win honors at tasting competitions and most recently Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated True North Vodka one of the “Top 50 Spirits” in the world along with designating it in the “Top 6 Vodkas” in the world.
With state of the art distilling equipment Rabish also had his sights on making whiskey. He has accomplished that goal by releasing Ole George 100% Straight Rye Whiskey earlier this year.
Because his first batch of whiskey was limited in quantity it is only available for purchase at his distillery. “We kept the initial production to a minimum to see consumer response,” said Rabish. “The response has been overwhelming so we have a second batch in production and next year we will have enough to send to our distributors.”
Ole George Whiskey is distilled from a 100% rye mash and is bottled at 93 proof. This is a traditional: prior to prohibition, Americans drank rye whiskey. The uniqueness of rye is that it imparts a spicy flavor. Ole George Whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel and unlike other mass-produced whiskey, Grand Traverse Distillery does not chill filter as chill filtering can remove flavor from the whiskey.
Ole George Whiskey is a smooth sipping whiskey that is best enjoyed with a couple of ice cubes added to the glass. Rabish and his team have come up with another winner with their Ole George Whiskey and have proven that Tennessee and Kentucky do not have a corner on the market when it comes to great whiskey. Grand Traverse Distillery is open for tours and tasting on Thursday and Friday from noon to 5 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. They will also take appointments for larger groups on other days. Grand Traverse Distillery is located at 781 Industrial Circle, Suite 5 (off of Three Mile Road) in Traverse City. For more information go to or call them at 231.947.8635. --Rick Coates
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